I'm sorry mam, I don'

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by steveair, Apr 5, 2000.

  1. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    Hello,<p>Just a observation I had today while working a job today.<p>I'm doing a larger site renovation, including expanding of the yard, setup of new beds, renovation of existing beds, etc. <p>While working today, the customer came home and I approached here on a few simple matters. First of all, the house has a construction special, you know, the same 12 plants as every other house, poor soil, and a sod lawn that was slapped down after the bulldozer pulled off. <p>I pointed out to here that all of her azalea's were dying, and that they would be needed to be replaced soon, if not now. Also, I pointed out that the 6 ft hemolock planted 1 foot off the corner of the house was planted to close, and also that the tree was dying, which it was. <p>Then, I made a mistake. I also pointed out that some other shrubs were planted to closely, and that some of them were dying. I was not sure what they were though, so I took a guess. When I did, she jumped on me. I was wrong, and for some reason SHE knew exactly what they were.<p>Now, heres my point. After making that mistake, it seemed as if everything I said before went right out the window. I felt like a fool. She seemed to think that everything I said was a ploy to make money or something and that I knew nothing at all.<p>I felt like just saying, <p>&quot;Sorry mam, I don't know everything in the world&quot;<p>Now heres my point. I am a just a landscaper. I do not know everything in the world about every aspect of landscaping. It's just not possible. Yet to them, you should. <p>My thoughts are this. I know a lot about landscaping. I have a degree, and worked dam hard to get it. I also have a good bit of experience under my belt, so I feel I deserve some respect. Now, granted, I may make a mistake or two, but overall, I have always made smart, well thought out decisions. I may not know exactly what type of plant it is, but I do know I have seen them before and I know when they look like they did that they are going to die. <p>I like to use the mechanic example here. We all know a good mechanic (or at least should in this business) and are confident in there decisions. My mechanic, who I trust fully, has always giving me good advice. The thing is this. Though he is a great mechanic, he may not be a expert on transmissions. Also, he may not be a expert on diagnosing computer problems. However, he knows that the problem may be the transmission, so tells me this and then I go somewhere else, a transmission shop, to get it fixed. <p>Its the same in landscaping. We may not know how to fix every problem, but we know how to recognize the problem. I think that is good enough. If I wanted to be able to name every plant in the world, I would then be a horticulturalist. But I'm not, nor do I want to be. Granted, I want to learn as much as I can, but you can't be a complete guru in everything if you are a &quot;landscaper&quot;. Our job is the project as a whole. Some contractors may higher others to help with each individual subject, but if you are alone, then this, I believe, is the way it has to be.<p>Just some thoughts <p>steveair<p>
  2. osc

    osc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    I have a degree in something unrelated but I can't see how you would know every flower and shrub by sight in every season with each state of foliage etc.. I tell people I'm ignorant up front and they seem to except that and pay the bill anyway.<br>Like everything else, this biz seems to be the customer's perception of what you know.
  3. steven Bousquet

    steven Bousquet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    don't feel bad .do you know how many people get paid Big bucks to figure out the stock market and its still all guess work. hey how about the weathermen with all the computers how many time are they right?
  4. jrblawncare

    jrblawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 445

    Don't feel bad this,it has happend me,at that point I tell them that is what I like about my field of work,not a day goes buy that I don't learn something either about plants,turf or how to deal with peaple.<p>----------<br>John <br>
  5. Not Mutch You Can Do About That

    I Think That An Excuse Like ...
    Well The Bush Is Kinda Dead So It Was Realy Hard To See All The Charecteristics Of The Specis.
  6. KenH

    KenH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,622

    Well, what kind of shrub was it????? If it was a builder spec house. it should have been pretty common.:D :D

    You should have said, your right, it is a "insert latin name here."
  7. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647

    I am with Ken on this one.

    Builders plantings are extremely boring. Cheap, common plants. Though I have forgotten most all latin names, due to dealing with homeowners all the time and common name is used ALL the time
  8. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,798

    You are absolutely right about it being impossible to know everything and people often expect you to. What you have to learn to do is to be able to absorb the reaction of the client in such a way that puts them at ease and holds you up at the same time.

    It is very difficult for people to get upset with someone that is very honest with them. Admitting that you did not realize what the plant was can be tempered by saying that you did not look at it closely or that you are unfamiliar with it.

    I find plants from time to time that I don't ever recall seeing. Last year "Vitex" was a new one on me. I saw it at 3 different clients houses, so it is apparently not rare, just not the type of plant used much in the types of plantings that I design or deal with. Neither client reacted with no confidence as I pointed out that I did not know what it was and asked them if they did.

    When you address an issue, be sure to know what you are talking about and be sure to let someone know what you are not sure about. It builds trust and confidence rather than breaking it down.

    The biggest risk is for you to assume that you need to make them think you know everything. If someone tells you that they don't know something, but know something else, you feel more confident that they are not pretending to know everything. When someone tells you that they specialize in everything, you become instantly skeptical.

    By telling someone what you don't know, they believe you and have cofidence that when you say you know something, you do. ... and you never get caught being wrong or contradicting yourself.
  9. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    well, what kind of plant was it? if it was a juniper, and u called it a rhodedendron, well.....anyway, what was it?

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,129

    and that plant is dieing never insert a name if u are not sure.
    the homeowner often has planted the unknown plant and knows what it is however they don't know it wont grow well where they planted it.

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